I’m thinking of someone without loyalty, an elderly man who uses people and then discards them when their usefulness runs out. A man who changes wives faster than some people change their minds. I’m thinking of a man who, more than anyone else, is responsible for the most recent and reprehensible upsurge of fascism in the United States. I’m thinking of a climate change denier, a spreader of lies, a terrorist, a friend of money and an enemy of the poor, and I’m not, for once, thinking of Donald Trump.
I’m thinking of Rupert Murdoch, the father of the crypto-fascist, terrorist organisation disingenuously known as Fox “News.” Murdoch, the news media multi-billionaire and one man extinction level event. We possibly owe more to the mogul Murdoch for our current woes on this planet than to any one person alive. In the hands of Murdoch, the pen is more destructive than the atomic bomb.
Were it not for Murdoch there could never have been a Donald Trump. Murdoch is responsible for at least half the surplus human stupidity and ignorance extant today. Murdoch, through his massive, sprawling media organisation, is a universal purveyor of destructive lies.
And, according to a new book, “The Fall” by Michael Wolff, Rupert Murdoch wants Donald Trump dead. Now that he’s created him and used him to destroy America, Murdoch has no further use for Trump. He is frequently overheard to say of Trump, “How could he still be alive, how could he?”
I have often wondered the same thing about Murdoch myself, but then, I’ve also wondered the same thing about Trump. The difference is, I didn’t create Trump. I would have never assisted in the creation of Trump had I had the chance. Murdoch had no scruple about it.
What I want to know is, at 92 years old, what keeps the ancient arachnid Murdoch still alive and still meddling in the affairs of a world that he’s so thoroughly screwed up? Like Henry Kissinger, who is also still alive and functioning at 100, evil sometimes seems to live on and on and on. Maybe Billy Joel was right. Only the good die young.
According to Michael Wolff, Murdoch has become “a frothing-at-the-mouth” enemy of the 77-year-old former US president, often voicing thoughts including “This would all be solved if … ” It never seems to occur to him that Donald Trump is mostly his fault. Unlike Dr Frankenstein, Murdoch seems to have no comprehension of the role he played in the creation of his monster.
Disloyalty is a prominent feature of today’s Republican fascism, and in that way the rest of the Republican Party has followed Murdoch’s and Trump’s example. No sooner does an ally cease being useful than that ally becomes an enemy. Think of the current feud between Marjorie Taylor Greene and Loren Boebert, and the feud between the so-called Freedom Caucus and Greene.
In the final analysis, the Republican, crypto-fascist unquenchable greed for power is all about individual ambition. Can there be any doubt that Ted Cruz, Matt Gaetz and even Marjorie Taylor Greene each have the Big Prize, the Oval Office itself, as their ultimate goal?
There is no room for permanent loyalty with such blind ambition. Such is the world that Rupert Murdoch created, an anarchy of platformless lust for power, without a goal, without principles, and fuelled by performative outrage and counterfeit culture wars promulgated by empty slogans. Such slogans make easy headlines for Murdoch’s propaganda press.
To date Michael Wolff has written three tell-all books about Trump, “Fire and Fury,” “Siege and Landslide,” and one other book about Murdoch “The Man Who Owns the News. In this most recent Murdoch book, Wolff says he may be “the [one] journalist not in his employ who knows [Murdoch] best.”
“The Fall” is destined for a reading public only, which means whatever wisdom it may contain is lost on the MAGA crowd. For what it’s worth, and I hope it’s worth something, it comes out this Tuesday. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.